© 2018 Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, and Reconciliation

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8 Mulberry Rd.   |   Selma, AL 36701   |   (334) 526-4539   |   info@SelmaCNTR.org

Faya Rose Toure/

Sen. Hank Sanders

Boynton Family Board Members

Faya Rose Toure

Faya Ora Rose Touré is a Harvard-educated Civil Rights activist and litigation attorney who has worked on some of the highest-profile civil rights cases to come before the courts. Touré—who spent most of her career as Rose Sanders until she decided to step away from her "slave name" in 2003—was the first African-American female judge in Alabama and was part of the winning legal team in Pigford vs. Veneman, the largest civil rights case in history. This case led to the payment of a billion dollars in damages to black farmers by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, Touré is a founder of the National Voting Rights Museum, McRae Learning Center, Ancient Africa, Slavery and Civil War Museum, the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement, Black Belt Arts and Cultural Center and Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders, Law Firm, LLC. Intensely passionate about her activism and legal work and the needs of the black community, Touré has founded learning and cultural centers, political and legal organizations, and community initiatives that have benefited Alabamians for four decades. She uses her many talents to further her message and is a prolific songwriter and playwright, as well as the host of a weekly radio show, Faya's Fire.


Touré was born Rose M. Gaines on May 20, 1945, in Salisbury, North Carolina. Her parents, the Rev. D. A. Gaines and Ora Lee Gaines, taught their six children to conserve so they would have something in life to give back to their community. Touré's community work began at an early age when she organized kids in the neighborhood. After graduation from George Clem High School in 1962 she entered Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1966. Still unsure where her career path would take her, she completed a law degree at Harvard in 1969 and was awarded the Herbert Smith Fellowship. That led to an assignment the following year at the National Welfare Rights Organization and the Columbia Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law. In 1971 she worked briefly for the Legal Services Corporation, and opened the law firm of Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders, Pettaway & Campbell, LLC the following year along with her husband, Alabama State Senator Henry Sanders. In 1973 Touré became the first African-American female judge in Alabama, serving as municipal judge until 1977. In 1982 Touré was hired by the Emergency Land Fund for the Department of the Agriculture to conduct a study of black land tenure and document land loss by African Americans.


Touré, the mother of three children and four foster children, has dedicated her life to helping children. She was a leader in the Selma Movement to end racial tracking, co-founding Coalition of Alabamians Reforming Education.  C.A.R.E. detracked a rural school in Sumter County, which resulted in test scores in Math and Science rising from the 27th percentile to the 74th percentile in a year and a half. She has also written over 40 musicals that address issues like tracking, teenage pregnancy, AIDS, drug abuse, etc. Her latest production is called Selma the Musical.

Sen. Hank Sanders

Senator Henry “Hank” Sanders is the second of 13 children born to Ola Mae and Sam Sanders of Baldwin County, Alabama.  He challenged the twin obstacles of poverty and racism to: graduate from Douglasville High School, Talladega College, and Harvard Law School; establish a law practice; and serve as the first African American State Senator from the Alabama Black Belt.  He is married to Faya Ora Rose Touré, formerly Rose M. Sanders, and they have three children by birth, four by foster relationship, and many by heart.


In 1971, Sanders began what became Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders, Pettaway and Campbell, LLC.  At one time, it was the largest Black law firm in Alabama and one of the ten largest in the country.  His law practice is one of service:  helping poor and Black people save their lands, protecting people’s constitutional rights, challenging corporate abuse, and helping build strong governments to serve all people.  He served as one of three lead counsel in the nationally known $1.2 billion Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation.


As a community person, Sanders has helped found and build many organizations and institutions, including the following:  Alabama New South Coalition, where he currently is President Emeritus; 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement; Alabama Lawyers Association; Black Belt Human Resources Center; McRae Learning Center; the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute; the Slavery and Civil War Museum; C.A.R.E. (Coalition of Alabamians Reforming Education); the Selma Collaborative; the Bridge Crossing Jubilee; WBMZ-105.3 FM Radio Station; and more.


In 1983, Sanders was elected to the Alabama Senate, where he champions issues affecting education, children, health care, women, tax reform, constitutional reform and more.  For 16 years, he served as Chairman of the Finance and Taxation Education, which handles the multi-billion dollar state education budget. 


As part of his accountability, Sanders writes a weekly column entitled Senate Sketches, which is published in various newspapers, on the Internet, and in other publications. He has a self-published book entitled, Take a Walk in My Shoes, which is a compilation of selected Sketches.  In 2004, he published his first novel, Death of a Fat Man.  He speaks widely, especially to young people.  His hobbies are reading, writing, and sports.  He considers his most significant contribution to be his work with and for our youth.

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